iRobot Picks Up German, British Orders
DID has covered iRobot Corp’s PackBot, an explosive ordnance disposal robot with a price tag of around $100,000 that’s being produced as part of the USA’s MTRS program along with QinetiQ’s TALON. Now the maker of those nifty Roomba robot vacuum cleaners has signed an agreement with the German Bundeswehr to deliver 18 iRobot PackBot robots, spare parts and repair services this year, with a follow-on option for 22 additional robots in 2007. iRobot reports that they were one of 6 companies that participated in the competitive bid process.
German forces are deployed as part of NATO’s ISAF in Afghanistan, as well as locations like Kosovo/Bosnia, the Congo, et. al. The bomb disposal robots will be used by German forces to identify and dispose of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
In recent weeks, iRobot has also announced an agreement to deliver 30 PackBot robots, spare parts and support to the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence for use in similar roles. The agreement will apparently settle a dispute between the UK MoD and the robot maker.